Scarecrow Got It Wrong

A few years ago, we were studying the Pythagorean Theorem in my eldest child’s eighth grade maths class. As it happens, I like plane geometry (something my family knows very well) but I still tried to contain my enthusiasm when my wife announced that my assistance was wanted. A worksheet had been sent home with a bunch of right triangles – each with two sides given – and the assignment was to find the remaining side for each. The assignment wasn’t difficult as much as it was boring. The triangles were all of two types: “30/60/90” and “45/45/90,” and my poor kid felt like he was doing the same problem again and again. This was not at all fun, but, as it happens, dad can be counted on to make a boring math lesson at least a little animated, if not exciting. Continue reading

Missing Years …

Despite my best efforts to approach my genealogical research in an organized and efficient manner, there are files I still haven’t sorted through. Many of these contain tangential information that doesn’t really move my research forward as much as deepen my understanding of an individual or the times they lived in. Sometimes, though, one of those files contains a forgotten document or notes from some unfinished search that sets me back on the trail and keeps me up until four in the morning. Documents like a marriage license. Continue reading

Poking Holes

Fractals are really awesome. I realize that sounds just a little hyperbolic, but that doesn’t make it untrue. As a teenager, I had a Julia Set “centerfold” on my wall (courtesy of OMNI Magazine) – I suppose a Grateful Dead poster would have had a similar look while being a lot more cool, but I was a tiny bit nerdy and had no appreciation for Jerry Garcia’s talent at the time. As beautiful as Julia was though, she wasn’t my first fractal … Continue reading

Sonnet 1

There was a time I thought myself quite the poet. Because of that somewhat misguided belief, I devoted far too much time to reading and writing poetry (Jane Austin would not have approved). Not much of it was very good, and most of it has gone away now, but I’ve still got a few pieces that I enjoyed. My favorite was written twenty-one years ago for my wife, before she was my wife, and when she looked on me with a suspicious eye. She’s since told me she’s not a particular fan of poetry, but I didn’t know that at the time and thought it was worth a shot. So, in the spirit of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing it with you … Continue reading